$100 million ResLife renovations begin this fall

Photo by Riley Goodman.
Photo by Riley Goodman.
Photo by Riley Goodman.
Gladding Residence Center I and II will close for construction in the fall and are expected to reopen in 2018. Photo by Riley Goodman.

Gladding Residence Center I and II, two student housing facilities used mostly by freshman, will close for construction in the fall and are expected to reopen in 2018.

Curtis Erwin, Executive Director of Residential Life and Housing said the main goals of the master plan are to address the quality of GRC I and II and ensure all freshmen have housing accommodations on the Monroe Park Campus.

Currently, more than 400 freshmen live on the Medical campus in the Cabaniss and low rise residence halls located in downtown Richmond. These students must commute to the Monroe Park Campus by the campus connector bus system.

“The closer you live to the center of campus is better for freshmen and they’re more engaged,” Erwin said. “The type of facility matters to freshmen, so traditional and semi-suite is where we want all our freshmen to live if at all possible.”

According to fall 2014 data, freshmen and sophomores who live on campus have a higher GPA than those who live off campus.

Design and site plans are due to the Board of Visitors later this spring, along with the operating agreement.

857 beds will be lost during the two year reconstruction. During that time, Cary and Belvidere, which is currently only open to upperclassmen, will become a freshman residence hall.

In addition, Ackell, West Grace South and Grace and Broad will also house freshmen.

Once the renovation of the GRC I and II buildings are complete, these dormitories will return to being upperclassmen-exclusive dormitories.

After the renovations are complete, half of the rooms in GRC I and II will be suites that will include traditional double rooms with a common area and a shared restroom. The other half will be semi-suites, which will have bathrooms within the unit that are  shared between two rooms.

The renovations are still in design, however the new building will house 1,500 beds and is estimated to be 12 stories high.

The construction of GRC I and II is the first phase of the $100 million VCU Housing Master Plan, which is a 50-year agreement with a private developer.

In 2014, VCU’s Department of Residential Life and Housing developed a Housing Master Plan for the Monroe Park Campus and MCV Campus. An agreement allowing American Campus Communities to proceed with preliminary development planning was approved Feb. 29 by the executive committee of VCU’s Board of Visitors.

Under the public-private partnership agreement with the private developer, VCU will own the land; the company will pay construction costs and own the new residence halls for 50 years. Building ownership will then revert back to VCU.

Staff Writer, Sophia Belletti

Sophia Belletti, Photo by Brooke MarshSophia is a sophomore print/online journalism major with a minor in gender, sexuality and women’s studies. She enjoys writing about current events and sports and hopes to one day be a sports reporter, covering soccer, basketball and baseball. You can usually find Sophia drinking way too much coffee and laughing at her own jokes. // Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

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